Many students at Cornell come with a variety of mental health concerns, including diagnosed mental illnesses which include anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, and OCD. Regrettably, mental illness is still greatly stigmatized, even in places like Cornell where it is so prevalent. Students who reveal their struggles with mental illness may be ostracized, treated paternalistically, or otherwise penalized for being open and honest about their conditions. We seek to actively combat this stigmatization with positive stories of healing and with the sharing of our day to day struggles and efforts to stay grounded, balanced, and whole.
As a faith community rooted in ancient practices of prayer, we know that spirituality is a tremendous therapeutic resource in combination with counseling and medical treatments. We talk openly about this in our community, sharing resources such as Cornell’s Let’s Meditate program, prayer practices such as St John’s weekly contemplative prayer, and the efforts at spirituality and resilience at the Skorton Center and Cornell’s Minds Matter program.
Our current chaplain, Clark West, has spoken openly about his own diagnosis with Type I Bipolar disorder and has sought occasions to speak on campus in order to fight the stigmatization that exacerbates the day to day struggles of dealing with mental illness.
And so we pray that if you are struggling with similar concerns, you will come and join us in this community with confidence that your story, your challenges, and your healing will be held with us as sacred, holy ground. God is indeed with us, always!